Atatürk instituted a series of reforms between 1923 (when he made Ankara the capital) and 1935 (when he made Sunday the weekly day of rest) that touched nearly all aspects of life and stand unique in history; their only rival were the quite different Meiji reforms in Japan. In the course of a dozen years, Atatürk singlehandedly changed the nature of his country, becoming personally involved in the details of the modernization process.
An echo of this dramatic, driven overhaul is felt in the past two years, in the era of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his crushing parliamentary majority. Susan Sachs reports in the New York Times on the sweeping changes that have led to the rewriting of hundreds of laws and one third of the articles in the constitution:
An avalanche of new laws, geared to bring the nation closer to European Union norms, has altered the way the state treats everything from police brutality and juvenile delinquents, to commercial transactions and industrial pollution. … Turkey abolished the death penalty and the feared state security court. It created intellectual property courts, consumer courts, juvenile courts and family courts. Treason was redefined, police powers limited, criminal penalties revised, trademark laws created and press laws revamped. In short, just about every field of law changed. Even the most experienced lawyers and judges have found themselves cramming like first-year law students and signing up for training seminars while cases pile up by the tens of thousands at courthouses.